A fellow artist recently asked me how I decide to start a new artistic medium. Really, I simply see something intriguing then explore it. (Anyone can do this.) I am an amateur artist who thrives at trying different mediums and improving every day. The beautiful imperfection of art – the imperfections often make the art – are akin to the beautiful imperfections of life. The things that give it spark, and character, and make it memorable.

A cheeky Cardinal watercolor from a while back.

If it’s fun and interesting, I immerse myself in it. Full force, for several months. I get all the supplies to do it 100%, watch dozens of hours of tutorials, study brilliant peoples’ art in the space. I try once, twice, a dozen, a hundred times. If it’s interesting enough to get into it at all, I get into it 110% for a while. Not everything is as mesmerizing or rewarding as something else, so I listen to my intuition, and also gauge if it’s fun and interesting and worth exploring. Often at first, I think, “well, clearly I have no talent at this,” but that is a red herring. “Talent,” it turns out, is often easily coaxed out of hiding with hard work and practice.

Hummingbirds I recently drew and painted.

While I used to think certain skills (like art) had to be innate or born, or genetic, I definitely think most people who want to be an artist can be an artist. Or writer. Or entrepreneur. Or anything else that we sometimes imagine people are “born to do.” Will everyone who wants to be an artist or writer or entrepreneur be in a gallery, or published, or on Shark Tank? Maybe not, but I would suggest it also doesn’t matter. Learning new skills – even taking on new personas – is a fun and rewarding pursuit in and of itself.

So personally, as far as art goes, through constant trying and experimenting, I often end up being fairly decent at a lot of mediums that all play off each other. And so, I like to think about art like business, or life in general. If you understand one thing better, now you probably understand many things better.

The process of experimenting and trying new things can be the best part of the journey.

For example, in art, if you understand color (theory) better, you are now better at art. If you can draw better, or take risks and aren’t worried about ruining a piece, you are now better at art. Learning about shadows? Better at art. Learning about a new medium? Learning composition? Better. Trying something frustrating you can’t figure out? Definitely better. Mixing mediums? No idea what you’re doing? Better at art and probably a lot more things. Like life. Experimenting, taking risks, having failures, trying again – have you heard this one before? Better. At. Life. (And art.)

Patience, practice, and appreciation of everything surrounding you are things all humans – not only artists – can improve and grow from, and they also make you better at art. And everyone can get better over time in all the above areas.

The pursuit of excellence is always a positive thing. Try, try, try again is a solid mantra and value. Experimentation and taking risks is what creates innovation. Not worrying about “ruining” something already created in order to create something even better is peak entrepreneurism. And also a great way to be an artist.

So to me all these things, while many might be about art, are also about life. An artist strives to create new things and be better every day.

And improving daily – especially at being a good human – is the best art form.


  • Amy Neumann

    Tech for Impact | #blockchain #AI #inclusion | Speaker | Author | Nonprofit Founder | Entrepreneur | Good + Tech = #changetheworld

    Resourceful Nonprofit, Technology Inclusion, Good Plus Tech

    Amy Neumann is a social good and technology fanatic who has been creating positive change for over two decades.  With a focus on blockchain and AI, she is a social impact entrepreneur who founded a startup nonprofit called Resourceful Nonprofit - formerly Free Tech for Nonprofits (and its subsidiary, Technology Inclusion) to help nonprofits do more of their important work faster while being inclusive as well as proactive about diversity and equity.  She is also CEO and principal of the social enterprise consultancy, Good Plus Tech, with a focus on leveraging emerging technologies and smart communication strategies to solve global social impact challenges. Amy speaks often, at places like Dell’s Social Innovation Conference, ASU’s Sustainability Conference, NTEN events, Blockland Solutions, nonprofit events, and universities.  She is widely published, including as a contributor to Forbes, an author of PR News’ Crisis Management Guidebook, and a columnist for the Huffington Post.  Because she can’t get enough of innovative world-changers, Amy also publishes on her passion project site, CharityIdeas.org. Amy’s 2018 Simon & Schuster book, “Simple Acts to Change the World: 500 Ways to Make a Difference,” is a tribute to the many great ideas she’s discovered on the topics of social good, social justice, equity, technology for good, and volunteering through her work and philanthropy.